Highway to Hell (Monday)

by Ruth Hallstead

The song Highway to Hell makes it sound like life is a blast when you don’t answer to anybody and do what you want. At some level, it seems like “living easy, living free” is a nice way to live. No responsibilities, no worries, nothing… and for a little while, that might be fun. It could even be quite the party. However, living only for yourself gets real old, real fast. No accountability also means that no one cares about you. No one is looking out for you, and no one minds what happens to you. Now that’s a scary thought. There is hope though— we are surrounded by accountability. Even when we try to deny it, God is there. He cares what you do, He is invested in where your path leads, and He will never let go of you. Jeremiah was a prophet amongst nations that behaved as if they were free to act as they pleased. It was a lawless time full of war, cruelty, neglect, and harassment. It seemed like God had forsaken the Israelites as he allowed these nations to rule over them. Of course, they couldn’t have been more wrong and God lets them know that. Jeremiah 46:28 says “As for you, have no fear, my servant Jacob, says the Lord. For I am with you. I will make an end of all the nations among which I have banished you, but I will not make an end of you! I will chastise you in just measure. . .” God remembers what you did, you don’t get a free pass on sin. But He is with you, and he is against the lawlessness that sometimes surrounds you. They don’t get a free pass either. Wait, backup, read that second sentence again. “I am with you”. He is with us always; chastising us while protecting us, loving us, yet reprimanding us. We get the good and the “bad” that come with living under any authority. But the good is so very good that we wouldn’t want to trade it for anything else.

I’ve Got You Babe (Friday)

by Cristina Bolton (with a little input from Alexi :))

The song, “I Got You Babe” seems to follow these two lovers journey in their relationship. It tells how they are always by each other’s sides and are seemingly inseparable, even to the point of repeating “I got you babe”. This is similar to God’s relationship with us. Throughout the Bible, God shows his people that He’s “got them”. When He led the people out of Egypt, when He sent the Holy Spirit to guide new disciples of Christ, and even to the point of sending His son to die for the future sins of His people.

In the later parts of the song Cher sings “And when I’m sad, you’re a clown/ And if I get scared, you’re always around.”  Jesus wants to be that connection for us.  His love brings joy and we know that He has not given us a spirit of fear.  And Cher’s song isn’t about someone who you call only when you need a laugh.  On the contrary, the picture she paints is of a very personal and authentic relationship.  We can cultivate this relationship with God each day as we choose over and over again to allow Him into our lives.  By looking around and asking ourselves where we see His love in the everyday happenings around us and saying continual breath prayers, we refocus our mind and grow closer to Christ.

One of the last parts of the song contains the lyrics:

“I got you, I won’t let go

I got you to love me so”

How much is that so?  In God’s case, a lot.  Isaiah 42:16 contains God’s promise that he’ll never leave them.  It says:

I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way,

   who can’t see where they’re going.

I’ll be a personal guide to them,

   directing them through unknown country.

I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take,

   make sure they don’t fall into the ditch.

These are the things I’ll be doing for them—

   sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.”

 

Hold on to God and don’t let go because you’ve got Him to love you so.

I Got You Babe (Wednesday)

by Hannah Alford

Monday we learned that about how service can be hard when you’re young. But what about when you start to run low on resources? Resources can mean anything; it can be time, money, even motivation, and God will always be right there to provide for us. 2 Corinthians 9:8 states, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” God has “got you babe” and he will help you through your journey to evangelize his good works and spread his love to every corner of the world. Let’s look back to Cher’s song…

 

“They say our love won’t pay the rent,

Before it’s earned, our money’s all been spent

I guess that’s so we don’t have a plot

But at least I’m sure of all the things we’ve got…”

 

We know that the worst thing isn’t the last thing, even when we think we have nothing left, when all the cards are against us and some might think our story is over, God is still actively working in our lives to give us everything we need to complete his good works. If you think about it that way, the bad times are necessary to give us experience and wisdom, the good times too, but everything is representative of God’s active role in our lives.

I Got You Babe (Monday)

by Ruth Hallstead

Last week we learned all about stepping up to serve others. That can be hard for so many reasons, and unfortunately the biggest reason is something we have absolutely no control over; our age and experience level. So often, we are discounted and pushed to the side. Yet that’s not the way it has to be or the way it should be. Paul wrote to Timothy about this very issue in 1st Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young”. Great, that sounds pretty straightforward; how hard can it be? If you’re like me, it is very hard. I struggle to ignore naysayers and overcome the low expectations set up immediately upon learning my age.  I start feeling like no matter what I do, it will somehow come back to my age and I will be looked down on. It is in moments like these that we can turn to Cher. Just kidding, turn to the Bible… but Cher does sum it up very elegantly,

“They say we’re young and we don’t know
We won’t find out until we grow
Well I don’t know if all that’s true
‘Cause you got me, and baby I got you…”

God has us. We can rest secure in that knowledge. We don’t need to listen to the doubters. We’ve got God and He has us, and that’s enough. Mark tells of Jesus picking up the little children and holding them in his arms. While He may not literally hold us, every day He is holding us, raising us up, and guiding us in following Him. Despite our youth, we’ve got this, because we’ve got Him.

A Thousand Miles (Wednesday)

Many of you probably know about the parable of the Good Samaritan. As is my norm, in case you don’t, quick story time (for the full version check out Luke 10:25-37ish).  Okayyyy…. So. This guy is walking down the road and he gets attacked and is hurting pretty bad and all of these people pass by (including a priest and one of the “good guys”) and don’t help.  Then, this Samaritan guy (aka the one who is supposedly less holy) walks by and is like “bro, that looks pretty bad, let me help” and he gets the hurt guy all bandaged up and sets him up in a hotel and pays for his stay and makes a plan for the guy to be taken care of even without him.  Now, this parable is directly about knowing who your neighbor is.  Jesus is making the point that our “neighbor” is anyone, thus, when we are commanded to “love our neighbor as ourself,” we really need to love everyone that way. But, I’ve always wondered why the first two guys didn’t stop to help – is it because they simply didn’t have time? They thought they were too good to help this man? Maybe they figured he brought it on himself, after all maybe he looked like the type of person that would be caught up in all that…  I always thought it was interesting that the “bad guy” stopped and I always wondered if it was because he understood.  Maybe he knew what it was like to be beaten up. Maybe someone helped him. This week you’ve already read devotionals about showing up for people and loving sacrificially and this man did both and so can we, because we might not have the exact same struggles as someone else, but we know what it’s like to be beaten up by sin and someone (Jesus) helped us out.  We always know that we’re supposed to serve, but, for me, remembering why makes all the difference in whether I stop or walk on by.

A Thousand Miles (Tuesday)

by Hannah Alford

On campus, we can get in a rut just thinking about ourselves and our needs and wants. How many times a day do we say the word “I” when Paul calls us to be servants of God under the direction of Jesus. Romans 12:1 states. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God- this is your true and proper worship.” Sacrifice is a word with heavy connotation, usually negative people think of sacrifice as having to give something up, or loss of some kind; but this is not the sacrifice that Paul is referencing. This sacrifice although it does carry loss, has a glorious gain in the end. On Tuesday nights you sacrifice study time or going out to go to Wesley and that’s wonderful! But to truly live by Paul’s advice the best way to praise God is to serve others, give up our time to help those who need it. Maybe you don’t have much time to give, then you could do something simple like pray for someone else while walking to class, you are serving the person who you are praying for and are bettering that person and yourself through prayer. Finding ways to serve can be hard, but once you find the joy in serving you become closer to God and the community you are supporting!